On Monday the Red Cross, the organization that provides about 40% of US blood and blood components, started using a more inclusive risk-based individual assessment to determine whether someone is eligible to give blood, regardless of their sexual orientation. Back when Kody Kinsley was in high school, he was so dedicated to boosting the US blood supply that he helped run blood drives. But Monday was the first time as an adult that Kinsley — now the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services — was allowed to donate blood. Kinsley is gay. Although the rules have loosened some, for nearly 40 years, guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration banned most gay men from donating blood, even if they personally posed no threat to the blood supply. Over the years, blood banks became better able to screen for HIV among gay and bisexual men, but the FDA policy stayed the same. Rather than screen people out for risky behavior, it screened people for who they were. Initially, gay and bisexual men who had sex with men were banned from donating for life. Over the years, the ban eased a little but still excluded most gay men from donating.